A Task too Big

Whew!  It’s done!  Mountains of papers cover the table, the floor, the counter.  Snack wrappers are mixed in with the financial statements after hours upon hours of searching for numbers.  I’m sweating.  I’m swearing.  I’m utterly exhausted.  But, at last, it is done!  Eighty-five pages of forms are complete.  Whew!

One would think that an educated person with several college degrees could complete their tax client organizer pages with ease. However, this annual experience causes great angst.  The terms on the forms are sometimes like a foreign language; if I don’t know what it means, how can I find it?  Then the worry creeps in as I wonder, what if I am doing it wrong?  Will the big, bad tax man come after me with outstretched hand?

Now that I am done and can breathe for a minute, I realize that my students may feel the same way as I do now on many days.  They may feel the task is too big, the words are unknown, and it is impossible to complete.  I must remember this feeling if I am to help them work their way through it.  A snack might even help.  After all, I just hand my client organizer pages over to my accountant to fill out the actual tax forms, but my students are all on their own.

8 thoughts on “A Task too Big

  1. Oh yes…

    “Now that I am done and can breathe for a minute, I realize that my students may feel the same way as I do now on many days. They may feel the task is too big, the words are unknown, and it is impossible to complete. I must remember this feeling if I am to help them work their way through it.”

    I remember fellow grad students complaining about the foreign language requirement — and their expressions when I would point out how valuable the experience was for English teachers.

    “Because,” I would explain, “now you know what language use skill gaps feels like for them.” Your lack of fluency doesn’t mean you’re slow or stupid. Neither does theirs.

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  2. I love this reflection! Whenever I have trouble with something like this, I try to remind myself that kids must feel like this pretty often. I certainly remember feeling it a lot in high school! Congratulations on being DONE!

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  3. I’m with you — we grown-ups need to continue to build our empathy for the experiences we put our students through. I hate tax time, too (I’m a consultant — I had 28 clients this year — ARGH!), but the awesomeness of getting it organized is a great feeling. And in many ways, doing Slice (I’m a first timer!) is giving me a big dose of the pain AND joy of “having to” write every day.

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  4. I hate, hate, hate tax forms. And have not even started to get my stuff ready. At the same time, I’m trying to get my reading intervention groups, about 30 kids who struggle with reading, ready for the PARCC, which starts next week. I may have to go buy snacks tonight!

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  5. Indeed! It’s always good to have one of those moments where we’re the learned instead of the learned. I got caught out once at a bilingual meeting, totally spacing out during the Spanish segment and missed the directions. It really made me feel for my second language students!

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